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October 10th, 2009

evil_genius @ 04:46 pm: care for a ready made still?

Destined to elicit questions from guests and encourage conversation, this perfume distiller uses the same scientific principles developed over 1,200 years ago to extract essential oils from plants for use in perfumes. Designed in Barcelona, Spain, the still's copper frame is engraved with Missisipi Destil Co.--an honest, if poorly translated attempt to pay homage to the distilling heritage of the American south. Simply steep fragrant plant leaves (such as lavender, peppermint, or thyme) in a pot of water, pour the strained liquid into the cucurbit, and place the oil lamp under the cucurbit. As the water boils, steam extracts essential oils from the fragrant liquid and fills the vessel with oil vapor. The oil vapor passes from the cucurbit through the swan-neck tube and, once it reaches the water-filled condensing pot, it is cooled and converted into a concentrated liquid. The aromatic oil is deposited into a cooling cup for use in perfumes. The alcohol burner, cucurbit, condensing pot, and collection cup are made from heat-resistant borosilicate glass--the same glass used in laboratory beakers. The distiller is mounted on a walnut base and its frame is made from five copper plates secured in place with copper rivets.

Go buy one here and get distilling! (only 200 bucks)

Yeah it's for making perfume.... *wink wink*

September 2nd, 2009

stroopfaced @ 01:28 pm: Help us?
 Hi o/

Firstly, if this is agianst the rules then I apologise and expect to be deleted.

I am trying to start a community to help people do all kinds of things for themsleves, anything from making clothes and beauty products to just fixing furnature. A place for exchanging tips and asking questions. I think this would work particually well on LJ but only if we get a lot of members. As of now, I have none.

You guys do something a lot of people would enjoy so your input would be greatly apreciated. Come and tell us where to get started.

If you have any usefull skills (you do, come on) or you would just like to learn to do more for yourself then come join and get posting. 


Hope to see you soon. 


p.s I love your icon

July 3rd, 2009

emosnail @ 12:07 am: Apologies for this not being about distilling, but doodlemaier's account is suddenly listed as deleted. I rather liked the fellow (and met him in this community, hence the posting here), anyone know what happened to him?

February 16th, 2009

doodlemaier @ 11:48 am: Fractionating columns
All else being equal, and provided that the packing isn't too dense as to cause the column to choke, would I be correct in assuming that more packing yields purer distillate?

February 11th, 2009

name_redacted @ 01:17 pm: Mash questions
Hello - I'm a long-time homebrewer who's just recently started reading on the subject of distilling. I had this notion that distilling from grain alcohol would basically involve making hopless beer and then running it through the still, but my reading indicates that there are two other significant differences between beer meant for drinking and "beer" meant for distilling, and I'm wondering if anyone here can offer some enlightenment on the subject, as my reading hasn't:
  • No boiling: In making beer, you collect the liquid from the mash (the wurt) and then boil it with the hops before cooling it and pitching the yeast. Partly this is to isomerize the hop resins to bitter the beer, but my understanding was that this also breaks down and precipitates the proteins in the wurt. Is there some reason that the "wurt" for "beer" meant for distilling isn't boiled? Would boiling it affect the finished distilled product?
  • Fermenting on the mash: The other half of the previous issue is that, in making beer, you collect and cool the wurt from the mash before you pitch the yeast and ferment it. My reading indicates that, in "beer" meant for distilling, you cool the mash and pitch the yeast into that, and collect the beer after it's finished fermenting. Is there a reason for fermenting the whole mash, rather than just fermenting the liquid?
Thanks in advance for your wisdom!

February 10th, 2009

emosnail @ 09:38 pm: Going Legit

Greetings stillmen and stillwomen!

I posted while ago on my first run. I'm now about five or six runs in. Successfully made brandy, compared it to commercial brandy (after barrel aging it in a 5gal oak barrel) and determined (A) I had been suprisingly successful (and in fact, though obviously biased, preferred my product to the retail), and (B) I don't think I like brandy. Lol. With the bossman ran some runs of white lightning moonshine, which we used liquorquik essences to make into various products. Recall that he's crazy, and I suspect he bungled this either when he didn't carefully measure the water in cutting it, or when he didn't really measure when adding the liquorquik -- either way I tried the brandy output side by side with the abovementioned two brandies and this one was almost undrinkably bad (it tasted extremely watery, followed by a kick in the teeth).

Anyway, I didn't come here to talk about me. I recall that someone posted here awhile asking if anyone had ever tried to declare their still to The Man and come clean. Well, in googling I'd come across a newly started distillery just one commercial run in. So I figured I'd shoot them an email because they'd know what it took and not be too big yet to talk to the little guy right. And lo, I got a response just a few hours later!

There are many, many things involved in getting your federal TTB distilling permit. The most important thing is to have the intent to open a commercial distillery in the goal of making a profit. Some of the most obvious rules are:
Your location cannot be in or connected to a dwelling
All your required equipment must be purchased and installed prior to your initial TTB agent's inspection of your premises.
You must submit 10 year's worth of personal and business financial data to the TTB
I would suggest going to the TTB website ( www.ttb.gov ) and reading the information they have there. There is no need to contact the TTB to read the information. All the rules, laws, and administrative dictates are there to see. I spent a lot of time on that website as I filled out my federal paperwork. If you do decide ever to go pro, the folks at the TTB are an excellent resource and are very helpful in getting you the information you need.
Best of luck,

Marc Bernhard
Pacific Distillery LLC
Woodinville, WA

So there you have it. The man appears not to want us doing it as a hobby at all. Which is a shame because the more I read about it the more I'm both overwhelmed by the complexity of it, and intrigued by the thought that there's real art and craft to perfecting it.

December 16th, 2008

emosnail @ 10:28 pm: By the Seat of the Pants - First Batch
Hello all. Some questions.

My boss and I (hey I'm a beekeeper, we have a lot of downtime this time of year) ran our first batch in his fractional still today. He's kind of a neurotic guy who does things by the seat of his pants, and I've only been able to glean so much information from books, so I have some questions and concerns.

He had fermented some agave juice like a year ago, and then didn't get around to doing anything with it till now. We put the gravimeter in it and it bobbed at zero, which was concerning. Don't know what the measure was before he fermented the stuff cause crazyguy hadn't measured it then. Also that specific gravitometer sank right to the bottom of the fusel oils while the other one bobbed at 170 (Units of Some Kind - I'll call them USK), so.. I have no idea.

Despite fears there was no alcohol in the agave juice (we do know how to ferment though, we've successfully made a number of batches of beer), we decided to run it through as a trial run anyway, I mean, what did we have to lose, other than agave juice we'd otherwise just throw out. Lo and behold it started producing fusel oils, which as mentioned bobbed the gravimeter well and burned well.

However, boss crazyguy then decided he wanted to try something else (lightning something? fermented sugarwater by turboyeast?) and shut it down. But myself and another coworker convinced him that since our earlier concern had been a complete lack of alcohol, and clearly it was working anyway, there was no reason to abort. So he ramped it up again. And then for reasons I don't recall at one other point he almost shut it down and ramped it back up.

My concern about the above is that its my understanding undesirable product comes out at lower temperatures, which is why you want to discard the heads and tails. Since it was ramped way down twice in mid-process, would this mean it was producing god knows what at four points in the middle of the run??

Anyway, now we have half a gallon of product that smells like fusel oils to me and no one is brave enough to drink (is it true that it can make you blind? If not, if the only risk is a bad headache or something I'll take the plunge).

We're thinking about trying a run tomorrow starting with jug wine and aiming for brandy.

Please go easy on me, obviously we barely know what we're doing, but if you can give me some pointers I'd greatly appreciate it!!

August 29th, 2008

thebarkingdog @ 01:05 am: ethanol?
I just joined.  Has anyone tried to make their own ethanol?  I wondered why it needs to be made with corn or other grain, can't it just be made with sugar, water and yeast left to ferment a couple days then distilled?  I had ideas about trying to make my own but I don't think I ever will.

The idea I had was to use a slow cooker with water heated to 127F (I think it was Fahrenheit) then I was thinking I could make a mason jar into a mini still by punching a hole in the lid then threading a hallow copper bolt or other plumbing fitting then attaching the copper line to that.  The mason jar would sit in the boiling water and I could monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer and have control over the temperature.  I thought of this because I thought it would be safer than using the burner on the stove.

So am I crazy or could this kind of set up actually work?  I'm too scared to try it!

I know this is probably illegal in Saskatchewan and if it was legal there would probably be zoning issues and permits...

March 14th, 2008

doodlemaier @ 12:53 pm: Coming clean with Uncle Sam
Have any of you, my neighbors in the U.S., applied with BATF for a license for your still and gone legit (or died trying, or tried, failed and lived to tell) with your distilling exploits? Have a story to share?

Current Mood: curiouscurious
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